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My Invisible Emotional Recovery

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It has been almost two months since my surgery. The physical recovery was tough – and very visible. Not so visible is the emotional recovery. The big “C” word has been a part of my daily life again and I have avoided writing about it, which gives it even more prevalence. However, I do know that sharing my journey may help others, so with a deep breathe, here I go—I’m back.

It’s not an easy time to try to hide from cancer either. Elizabeth Edwards and Farah Fawcett have been front and center in the news about their journeys, both with terminal cancer. And then there’s Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy. I could not watch a hospital-based show for a couple of weeks after my surgery. (No more needles please!) My friend Bobbie sat with me to watch the show when Izzy started her treatment. She told me she went home and told her husband it was the most uncomfortable hour of her life, sitting there with me when the word cancer was spoken in virtually every segment of the show.

I am participating in an on-line support group that is specifically for endometrial sarcoma survivors. The conversations and information have been illuminating and I don’t feel quite so alone with this rare (or unusual) disease. However, I don’t know if I want to continue getting 10 emails a day, reminding me I had cancer.

Back to details. My surgery was March 24 at Stanford University. Two tumors were found and one had spread to my small intestine. About 12 inches of my intestine had to be removed. Both tumors reoccurred where previous tumors had been—one in the right pelvic area and one at the top of the vagina. That had never happened before. It had always been one contained tumor.

I puzzled for weeks—what does this mean? Two tumors? One had spread? And that’s exactly what it is—a puzzle. There are no clear cut answers. I’ve learned that in the 12 years that I have dealt with this disease.

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Mary, so glad to see you're writing again. It sounds like it was a bit of a battle. Writing is such a personal task to begin with, and even moreso when you're writing about yourself and sensitive events.

Your spirit comes through your writing undeniably, despite the topic of the day. Thanks so much for finding your way back to the keyboard. I know that I and many other women are glad to see your smiling face back again.

May 21, 2009 - 9:44am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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